Former Republic factory to reopen all workers to be rehired

Chicago, IL – Passage of the Obama Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act is already having a jobs creation impact. The United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers (UE) announced Feb. 26 the bankruptcy court approval of the sale of most assets of the former Republic Windows and Doors Company to California-based Serious Materials. The sale will allow the plant to reopen.

Two hundred-fifty Republic workers had conducted a six-day sit-in last December when the plant was abruptly closed and the worker’s vacation and severance pay and health benefits were illegally denied. The sit-in, which garnered international solidarity, enabled the workers to win all their demands even though the plant closed.

In its plan to reopen the window factory, Serious Materials also reached an agreement with UE Local 1110 to rehire all former Republic workers at their former rate of pay and allow UE to continue representing them.

Serious Materials is a leading producer of energy efficient windows and other environmental products. The federal stimulus package contains $16 billion for retrofitting existing homes with the type of windows produced by Serious, potentially creating a huge market and thousands of jobs.

“We are happy that the purchase of our former plant by Serious Materials has been approved. Our members are ready to get back to work and make great energy efficient green windows for Serious. We look forward to working together to create green jobs at living wages,” said Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110.

“We have all been working hard to get our factory re-opened since December 10, 2008. We are so glad this day has come,” said UE Local Vice-President Melvin Maclin.

'The reopening of this factory and the rehiring of these workers provide an excellent example of how the money in the Recovery Act is targeted to spur job creation quickly,' said Vice President Biden. 'These workers will not only earn a paycheck again; they will go back to work creating products that will benefit America's long-term economic future.'

Biden has been charged by President Obama with overseeing the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In addition to the stimulus allocation for weatherization retrofitting, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Energy announced a partnership to streamline and coordinate federal efforts to allow homeowners to more quickly tap into the funds.

Serious Materials has other production facilities in California, Colorado and a newly acquired plant in Pennsylvania. The super insulated window designs currently exceed energy efficiency standards in the Energy Star program set by the Environmental Protection Agency and DOE by 200-400 percent.